A GIF can be more than a well-timed punchline for a tweet or group chat. Now, the looping clips can be used to teach people new languages. As Mashable reports, GIF provider Giphy has launched a new “channel” containing more than 2,000 educational sign language clips. They’re all dead simple: just the hand movements and a text caption explaining what they mean. These bite-sized flash cards have been pulled from Sign With Robert, an instructional series for American Sign Language (different versions are used throughout the world). The hope is that people will pick up a word or two by sharing them at convenient moments online.
“The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it’s perfect for learning new signs,” Hilari Scarl, director and producer for Sign With Robert said. “It doesn’t require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat.”